Tag Archives: china adoption

A Little About Judah

We’ve been home from china for six almost twelve weeks now. (I started this post at six weeks home but couldn’t bring myself to finish putting my thoughts down until now.) I honestly didn’t expect to go this long before writing another post but up until now I really haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and gather my thoughts and write… ok maybe I have but I’ve been indulging in my favorite pastime… reading.   Let’s just call it maternity leave, lol!

In addition to adjusting to life as a family of five over the past twelve weeks we also moved into our house… seven days after being back in country!  It was crazy and looking back I’m not sure how we did it but it was better than letting Judah adjust to our apartment and then uprooting him and moving into a house a month or two after returning home.

As much as I know you would all love to see pics of Whistle Haven I know you would much rather hear about Judah.  Besides at this point the house isn’t exactly ready for pics.  We still have construction workers coming by on a regular basis and moving boxes scattered all around.  It’s beginning to look like we live there though and it certainly feels like home now.

So Let’s Talk About Judah

Noah for females in Hebrew means “motion”, Esther means “star”, and

Judah means “to praise”.

Both girls have certainly lived up to the meaning of their names and I don’t expect Judah to be any different.  My heart and prayer is for Judah’s life to bring praise to God but I’ve realized over the past twelve weeks that to truly do that I must share where he’s coming from. So that as he overcomes hurdles and learns to work around barriers you will see the need to praise God for all the work that he is doing in and through Judah’s life.  I will be the first to tell you that God has taught me so much already through Judah.  Adoption is by far one of the toughest things (both times) that I have ever done in my life but also (both times) one of the ways that as I look back at my faith I can see the biggest growth and the times when I have clung to the scriptures and the love of God most.

Adoption is tough.  As hard as it is for the parents it in no way compares to how difficult it is for the child.  In Judah’s case it has been pure terror and it completely traumatized him for the first eight weeks at home.  Suddenly everything he knew was ripped out from underneath him and he had no idea why.  The only thing that soothed him was Michael Luke and me holding him WHILE walking. If we stopped even for a minute it was more than he could bear. He would almost immediately start biting his thumb and crying.  I don’t mean sucking his thumb like some babies do I mean physically biting. Biting to the point that his thumb was calloused from biting it so much.  In China his nanny told me that he bit his thumb to tell people he was hungry.  I haven’t seen him do that since coming home because I don’t let that sweet boy go hungry but he does bite it when he becomes uncomfortable or is trying to go to sleep.  I can happily share that he doesn’t bite his thumb as much now.  About four weeks ago he started tolerating me holding him while standing still and he doesn’t bite his thumb near as much when trying to go to sleep.  In fact sometimes he just accepts that it is bed time and rolls over and goes to sleep. I am thankful that during this exhausting and tough time of Judah adjusting he doesn’t tolerate his stroller and car seat. So let’s just say we may or may not have driven lots of miles out of our way just to remain in the car and we may or may not have wandered aimlessly around the malls and parks just to fill our time.  It worked though and we are seeing light on the other end of the tunnel now.

Nowadays, Judah still likes to be held a lot but he does tolerate playtime a few times throughout the day and is starting to really enjoy watching his sisters play. He also loves music.  So the girls and I love to crank up some Disney songs and dance around the room while he sits flailing his arms and head around joining in the fun with us.

 

A couple of weeks ago Judah got some adorable glasses that I think took his cuteness factor to an entirely new level.  Apparently he’s pretty nearsighted so this helps to improve his vision.  We aren’t sure how clear he sees though because on top of being nearsighted he also has nystagmus.  Basically it means that his eyes are constantly moving back and forth making it hard for him to focus or see things clearly.  Remember when you were a kid and you used to spin around in circles and then you stopped but everything looked like it kept spinning?  Well, that’s similar to how Judah views the world… without the dizziness.  It will be a while before we actually know how good his vision is but I think he sees pretty good. He’s able to distinguish foods on his plate and will track us around the room.

Nystagmus was one of the special needs listed when we reviewed his file last year.  Michael Luke and I had been praying about Judah, at the time his name was Renquan (pronounced ren-cwhin) for several days.  I was nervous about adopting a child with low vision who might possible be legally blind.  For several days I had been praying to God, asking him for wisdom and to make it clear whether Judah was the child for us.  One of my concerns was how would a vision impaired person get around independently. Well, I kid you not, the very day I asked God to make it clear to me he did!  We were in Salt Lake City at the time riding the trolley around downtown and at one of the stops SIX blind people got on.  The first waited at the door and used his cane to count each person as they boarded.  He clicked his cane after the sixth one boarded and said, “ok, that’s everyone.” It was literally the blind leading the blind and God’s way of showing me that everything would be oik.  I knew then that Judah was the child God intended for us.  Now that we are home Judah’s low vision seems like such a minor thing.

This past week were finally able to begin our therapy sessions. So far we have started occupational and developmental therapy with physical and speech therapy beginning soon.  Judah’s therapy doesn’t have as much  to with the fact that he has low vision but that he also has hypotonia or as it’s more commonly referred to as low muscle tone.  Think floppy baby.   In short his brain has not fully learned how to activate and use all of his muscles to the best of their ability.  This leaves him developmentally and cognitively behind but according to others who have been down this whole therapy route therapy can do wonders for children like him.  So let’s just say I’m one ecstatic mama because carrying around 22lbs of baby all day is a workout!

Regardless of Judah’s special needs he is made in the image of God and he is fearfully and wonderfully made.  And I’ve fallen completely in love with the little boy that makes the sweetest sound as he pats me on the back, squeezes my neck, and then gives me slobbery kisses.  In this broken world he’s discovering love.

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Up, Up, and Away

By the time this post goes live Michael Luke, Noah, Esther, and I will already be on our way to Hong Kong. Yep, it’s been a crazy couple of days at our house and it sounds like we’ve got some catching up to do to bring you up to speed. So how did we go from waiting on approval of a consulate appointment last Tuesday to physically being on a plane to start the trip that will lead to bringing Judah home?

Last Tuesday we submitted for an appointment date with the U.S. Consulate.  Our coordinator at Lifeline felt like the earliest we would be able to get an appointment would be March 30 but we decided to go ahead and request March 23 as our first choice and put March 30 as our second.  It typically takes about 24 hours to hear back on an appointment date approval but sometimes an answer is given.  Wednesday came and went though and we didn’t hear anything.

Thursday morning I dropped the girls off at Mother’s Day Out and then started on my to-do list for Esther’s birthday party later that afternoon.  As I pulled into the Party Works parking lot to track down the ONLY Barbie balloon available I got a message from ML.

It read:

Step One: Check your e-mail.

Step Two: Panic

Step Three: Call Me

Well anyone who knows me knows I’m not a perfectionist and have never really followed directions well.  I though he meant he checked HIS e-mail and panicked and that I should call him.

So i did….

and then he had me check my e-mail first.  I think he just wanted to hear me panic because PANIC I did along with deep breathing and tears of joy.  We had an e-mail from our coordinator letting us know we had been approved for an appointment with the U.S. Consulate on March 23 and that we would receive Judah on March 13!

That meant that we needed to leave today… Monday because we are spending some time in Hong Kong with Kai-Ma and her husband.  Nearly three years ago I wrote a post titled “Who is Kai-Ma“.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it so that you can truly understand who we are going to visit.  In short Kai-Ma is like a godmother to Eshter and for six months after we brought Esther home we could have no contact with her or anyone else in Hong Kong. When I wrote that post nearly three years ago I had no idea that she was reading it and was eagerly looking forward to connecting with us.  For the past couple of years the girls have Facebook video chatted with her and her husband every Thursday morning.  She sends the girls birthday presents, Christmas presents, and other various gifts throughout the year.  So this week we are excited to spend time with them and let them see what a beautiful young lady Esther is turning into.

Back to the having four days notice thing.  Thursday morning we found out we needed to leave by Monday.  Thursday afternoon we booked tickets and told the girls.  That night we celebrated Esther’s birthday with friends at Chick-fil A.

Throughout all this I was praising God because a) Michael Luke had just started his off week and was able to work on the logistics of the whole trip b) we had planned Esther’s birthday party a week early “just in-case” we happened to be in Hong Kong on her birthday c) we are finally going to China to get Judah!

Friday a sweet friend kept the girls so we could meet with our contractor and work on finalizing everything so they can keep working and hopefully about have the house finished by the time we get back.  So U.S. Government in case you are reading this we did not move out of our approved dwelling space before our trip.  At this point it would have been impossible.

Saturday morning we packed.  This is honestly the earliest we have ever packed for a trip and the best we have ever done at conquering a to-do list. It made this procrastinator couple feel pretty good. So while such short notice might have freaked some people out we feel like we were ready to go with plenty of time to spare.  Saturday night we ate dinner with ML’s parents one last time as a family of four, shopped for gifts for everyone that will be helping us while in China, and then went and bought new car/booster seats for the girls so Judah can have Esther’s car seat.  Noah has been a little rough on hers.

Sunday morning was spent worshiping and praising God because lets just be honest… only he could have orchestrated all of this and boy will we need his strength in the coming weeks as we adjust to life with a little one.  By Sunday afternoon we were busy boxing all our belongings up for the move shortly after we return to the states. My parents came in to town to help us and to see us off to the airport.

And well that pretty much brings us back to us being on a plane headed for Hong Kong.  So as you sit down to your desk this morning, or your morning cup of coffee on your sofa think about the fact that our longest flight with two five year old girls will be SIXTEEN HOURS.  That’s like sitting down at your desk at 8:00 in the morning and not leaving until midnight. Prayers are appreciated.  For a mom that doesn’t allow her girls to have much screen time they are welcome to watch all the age appropriate movies and tv shows they can consume in sixteen hours… as long as they let me sleep.

Like with Esther’s adoption I will be blogging often to help me record my emotions and memories and as we come into contact with WiFi hotspots I’ll be sharing quick updates on Instagram.  It’s going to be a crazy three weeks but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Thank you for all your continued prayers because soon #judahscominghome.

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Two Weeks of Silence

The last adoption update I shared was two weeks ago and while in the grand scheme of this two and half year long process that is a very short wait on an update it has been two of the longest weeks for us.

Every day for the past week and a half we have waited patiently to hear if our fingerprints had been reviewed yet and if so if they had passed.  As the days have drug out I have more and more felt at peace about the wait.  I want to hold Judah in my arms and eagerly look forward to loving on him but there’s still lots to do here stateside before we are truly ready to become a crazy functioning family of five.

It’s helped me consider our initial invitation to get him on February 20th as a wake-up call.  During this time I have kicked packing into high gear and have really begun to think about everything we need to finish and streamline to have the house move in-ready by the time we get back.  Speaking of Whistle Haven I’m sure many of you are ready for visual updates and I promise I am working on them.  Behind the scenes not much has changed.  Floors were installed but are covered with cardboard to protect them during the remaining work and my bathroom floor is basically nothing but dirt.

My to-do list has been daunting lately.  Finally, with all the girls old clothes loaded in the van and ready for the consignment sale, most of Esther’s birthday party preparations out of the way, and taking two hours out of my morning to pack I felt less burdened.  Sure there’s still appliances, light fixtures, and paint colors to select, and nearly an entire apartment to pack but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  God has shown me that I needed this time to get things done so that when we return I can focus on my family.

So, I’m having all these peaceful thoughts and thanking God for so far two weeks of extra time when the phone rings this morning.  It was Michael Luke wanting to add me to a call he was in on with our social worker, Sarah. Sarah was beyond excited to share with us that FINALLY we had received our last approval from the U.S.!!!

Yes!

Now, all that’s lacking is booking our appointment with the U.S. Consulate in China.  Earlier this afternoon we submitted our request for appointment dates and expect to hear back by the end of the week.

One thing that God has taught me through adoption is that waiting can be hard, and each day can seem like its holding you up but in the end you don’t think about any of those days because the wait is worth it.  Soon. Very soon our little boy will be living on this side of the world with us and I won’t be dwelling on any of these days because I’ll be living in the moment. It’s kind of like waiting on heaven.  It may seem like the wait takes forever…. eighty or ninety years sometimes but when we get there the last thing we will be thinking about is all the years we had to wait before arriving in the very presence of God’s glory.

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